Children face all kinds of dangers in today’s world, and it seems that each week brings a news report that as a parent, you hope never happens to your teenager. The CDC’s list of top five causes of serious injury or death to teenagers includes accidents, homicide, suicide, cancer, and heart disease, (CDC.gov). Accidents or unintentional injuries rank auto accidents as the leading cause of death or injury to teenagers, with a startling 2,042 deaths in teenagers aged 15-18 years old in 2019. What is even more shocking is that 45% of these drivers were unbuckled, (NHTSA.gov). While driving is a step toward your child’s freedom, there are ways to reduce the risk of your teenager being injured in a car accident.
This blog is for educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.
Start the conversation early. By educating yourself and your teenager, you open the dialogue for some potentially difficult conversations, responsibilities, and consequences associated with being a careless driver.
Where Should You Start? · Each state has different requirements for driving. Educate yourself about your state’s graduated driver licensing (GDL) system. The GDL system lays out a three-stage licensing process to reduce high-risk driving situations and includes supervised driving requirements, reduced nighttime driving, and a restricted number of passengers. This is a good time to establish good driving habits and ground rules for seat belt usage, following all laws, especially speed, and most importantly distraction-free driving.
· Read and share every story and statistic available with your teenager. Utilize every opportunity to discuss the responsibility of being a teenage driver.
· Enroll your teenager in a driver’s education class. These classes and programs reinforce rules and provide practical experience in a safe environment.
· Talk, talk, talk to your teen about the dangers of driving under the influence and distracted driving. All states have a zero-tolerance law for drivers under 21. This means that there can be no trace of drugs or alcohol in the driver’s system. In 2019, 16% of 15 to 18-year-old drivers involved in a car accident had been drinking, according to the NHTSA. Most states are beginning to address the pandemic of distracted driving, with strict no cell phone usage laws. Imagine your teen driver closing their eyes for the length of a football field while driving…this is the amount of time an average text message takes to send! However, distracted driving comes in many forms; passengers, pets, music, and food are just a few.
The number one way to reduce the risk of your teenager being injured in a car accident is to be a good role model. By setting the standard of safe driving, your teenager is less likely to engage in risky driving. Create rules and live by them: ALWAYS buckle your seatbelt, put your phone away, and keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Parents practicing what they teach will reinforce ways to reduce the risk of your teenager being injured in a car accident.
If you have a teenager that has been injured in a car accident, contact the Law Offices of Reginald Keith Davis for a free consultation. We will help you determine your legal actions and help you receive the compensation you deserve.
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